Author Topic: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London  (Read 14474 times)

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Offline petrarch

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2008, 03:38:56 PM »
how does it translate for recording? they have THIS new recording of it...

Not at all like experiencing it live, but still good, depending on the recording.

The one you mention is not a new recording, but a reissue of a 1991 Ricordi CD, which unfortunately is not good at all in terms of sound quality. This one is a big improvement, but it is a live recording, so beware of audience noise and this one is better still, a pristine SACD studio recording.

They are all worth it--the Ricordi/Stradivarius because it has Dell'Azzurro Silenzio; the Col Legno 25 Years Retrospective of the Experimentalstudio because it has a ton of other good stuff, namely my teacher's Wandlungen :); the Col Legno SACD because it is the one you should get for Quando stanno morendo.
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Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2008, 03:13:13 AM »
MDL what's your take, is there any good KS after 1970 or did the man's music become un-interesting because of too much LSD etc.?  ;D

Sorry I'm so late responding. Work was hectic yesterday. There is a huge amount of post-1970 Stockhausen that I have never heard.

The first Stockhausen piece I got to know was Trans, and I still think that that is one of his finest creations. Yes, it's completely mad, but it's also compulsive and mesmerising and I can't wait to hear it live in November. Inori is also wonderful. I used to have problems with the first half-hour, which seemed too repetitive and thin, but now I love the whole piece.

I first heard Donnerstag aus Licht on the radio when it was broadcast in the early '80s and I found it hypnotic. The surging choral writing shows Stockhausen at his most impressive. I wasn't quite so gripped by Samstag, although the last two acts are pretty extraordinary. I heard Freitag in its semistaged performance at the Barbican. The opening was hugely impressive and quite terrifying, but I found my mind wandering as the night went on. The audience didn't seem overly enthusiastic and it got a stinking review in the Guardian. Broadcast in concert halls, I've heard Oktophonie, which I really enjoyed, and Cosmic Pulses, which I wasn't quite so sure about. It had its moments, I suppose.

Offline not edward

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2008, 03:19:54 AM »
Not at all like experiencing it live, but still good, depending on the recording.

The one you mention is not a new recording, but a reissue of a 1991 Ricordi CD, which unfortunately is not good at all in terms of sound quality. This one is a big improvement, but it is a live recording, so beware of audience noise and this one is better still, a pristine SACD studio recording.

They are all worth it--the Ricordi/Stradivarius because it has Dell'Azzurro Silenzio; the Col Legno 25 Years Retrospective of the Experimentalstudio because it has a ton of other good stuff, namely my teacher's Wandlungen :); the Col Legno SACD because it is the one you should get for Quando stanno morendo.
OT, but thanks for the advice on the Col Legno disc: I'm a big admirer of Nono's work but Quando stanno morendo has never clicked with me, so I'll put this one on my wishlist.

I've downloaded that Stockhausen concert. I wasn't overly impressed by Harmonies on a first listen (though that rarely means much when experiencing a new work); on the other hand revisiting Gruppen was a great experience and a reminder of its inner detail, coloristic variety and staggering dramatic power.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline duncan

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2008, 12:29:58 PM »
I attended the Stockhausen events at The Proms in London last weekend.  I'm familiar with a few of his works from recordings but had only previously heard Gruppen in concert.  What struck me was how important the spatial element of his music is and how much one has to be in the hall to appreciate this. 

The highlight for me was Cosmic Pulses. From the program: “There are 24 melodic (pitch and rhythm) loops, comprising from 1 to 24 pitches, in 24 different registers. These loops rotate at 24 different speeds around eight loudspeakers. The loops are successively layered together from low to high and from the slowest to the fastest tempo.”

The sound was relayed though eight speaker arrays high in the hall.  The Albert Hall is oval and the 'prommers' stand or sit in the middle, so it's an ideal venue for this piece.  Apparently the broadcast (and download?) was a two-channel remix straight from the desk. If so, it will have missed about 70% of what the music was about. It is ironic that an entirely electronic piece should only properly work 'live'.

What we heard in the hall were mostly vaguely pitched sounds, from ultra- to infra-, occasionally recognisably organ-type noses, growls and twitters but generally abstract tones. These sounds flew around the space at different speed from a just-perceptible crawl to extremely quickly.  The lights were dimmed except for single spot which lit one of the walls like a dawning sun.  It was quite loud but comfortably so, not rock-concert levels.  The effect ranged from trance-like to highly disorientating. I thought it was magnificent and astonishing music for a 79 year-old.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 12:34:48 PM by duncan »

Offline Al Moritz

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2008, 07:33:05 AM »
And yet, it's based on principles & concepts he pioneered and had in place in the very beginning.

Yes, as we had discussed on the "Stockhausen's Spaceship" thread.

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2008, 06:49:19 AM »
If you like choral writing, then you should check out Montag (quite possibily my fave of the cycle), it has many fascinating sections, particles & fragments...

Thanks for the recommendation. I need to investigate Licht further, since I've heard less than half of it. Have you heard all of the operas?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 06:50:53 AM by MDL »

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #46 on: August 08, 2008, 06:58:20 AM »
I attended the Stockhausen events at The Proms in London last weekend.  I'm familiar with a few of his works from recordings but had only previously heard Gruppen in concert.  What struck me was how important the spatial element of his music is and how much one has to be in the hall to appreciate this. 

The highlight for me was Cosmic Pulses. From the program: “There are 24 melodic (pitch and rhythm) loops, comprising from 1 to 24 pitches, in 24 different registers. These loops rotate at 24 different speeds around eight loudspeakers. The loops are successively layered together from low to high and from the slowest to the fastest tempo.”

The sound was relayed though eight speaker arrays high in the hall.  The Albert Hall is oval and the 'prommers' stand or sit in the middle, so it's an ideal venue for this piece.  Apparently the broadcast (and download?) was a two-channel remix straight from the desk. If so, it will have missed about 70% of what the music was about. It is ironic that an entirely electronic piece should only properly work 'live'.

What we heard in the hall were mostly vaguely pitched sounds, from ultra- to infra-, occasionally recognisably organ-type noses, growls and twitters but generally abstract tones. These sounds flew around the space at different speed from a just-perceptible crawl to extremely quickly.  The lights were dimmed except for single spot which lit one of the walls like a dawning sun.  It was quite loud but comfortably so, not rock-concert levels.  The effect ranged from trance-like to highly disorientating. I thought it was magnificent and astonishing music for a 79 year-old.

I was disappointed that the orchestras in Gruppen were so close together, one on the stage and two in the standing area. I've heard it four times in the Festival Hall and once in the Blackheath concert hall, and the orchestras were appropriately spread out so that you could appreciate the spatial aspect of the work. At the Proms, only tiny portion of the audience would have experienced the work as Stockhausen intended.

As for Cosmic Pulses, I thought it was an amazing piece to hear booming through the Albert Hall. I listened to the piece with my eyes closed and at some points, the swirling, whirling cascades of sound made me feel a bit dizzy. But unlike Kontakte, I'm not sure if Cosmic Pulses would be that interesting a piece to listen to on CD. Of course, I've only heard it once. But then again, I've only heard Oktophonie once, and I'd love to hear that again.

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #47 on: August 08, 2008, 07:02:49 AM »
And was I going mad, or were there people booing at the end of Stimmung? Why? Oh, I know we're in a democracy and audiences are entitled to express their displeasure and all that. Still, it seemed extraordinarily rude to boo the hardworking members of the Theatre of Voices. Perhaps I've been lucky, but I've never heard booing at any concert I've been to in two decades of concert-going.

edit: This refers to the late-night Prom on Stockhausen Day.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 07:04:26 AM by MDL »

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #48 on: August 08, 2008, 07:32:48 AM »
MDL,

I have heard all of Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs. & Sat.

Friday, just the Electronic music with Sound Scenes (which is my favorite out of all the later electronic music)

Sunday, just the 2nd Scene: Angel Processions; a large work for mixed choir in 7 languages.

Is Tuesday the one that incorporates a modified version The Course of the Years that was released on LP by DG in the early '80s? I haven't played that LP for years. I must dig it out.

Offline MDL

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #49 on: August 09, 2008, 12:45:23 PM »
I'll likely catch Punkte in the Proms, over the weekend that I'll be in London.

And I'm looking forward to it as my first exposure to Stockhausen. :)

I'm going to that concert, and I'll probably leave after the Stockhausen. No disrepect to Beethoven and Schubert, whose works make up the third part of the concert, but I think I'll be quite sated by Mahler 5 and Stockhausen's Punkte. A few years ago, Salonen and the Philharmonia performed Liget's Requiem, Stravinsky's Violin Concerto and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. Now, I love the Bartok and quite like the Stravinsky, but I was so blown away by the stunning performance of the Ligeti that anything afterwards could only be, and was, a let-down. Nothing is going to distract me from savouring the impact of hearing Punkte live for the first time.

Offline Al Moritz

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #50 on: August 09, 2008, 10:55:50 PM »
If you like choral writing, then you should check out Montag (quite possibily my fave of the cycle), it has many fascinating sections, particles & fragments...

Yes, Montag is a favorite of mine too, and the music that back in 2000 convinced me that Stockhausen was a composer of extraordinary stature, not just your typical "great composer"; this after I had already heard some of his more famous early "classics".

For a peek inside the opera I recommend the single CD Geburtsfest (Stockhausen-Verlag CD 37), which features the larger choirs from the opera on their own (with a few "soundscenes", but this is mainly a cappella choir). Even if you buy the 5-CD set of Montag later, you want to have that CD anyway, because it permits you to listen into that choir layer more deeply than possible in the entire opera context, which consists of more layers. This holds especially for the second part of the choir music, which features a carefully composed, complex and extreme accelerando over 20 minutes, but for the other choir music too; the entire CD holds 70 minutes of music.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 10:59:09 PM by Al Moritz »

Offline Al Moritz

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Re: Stockhausen Festival at the South Bank Centre, London
« Reply #51 on: August 09, 2008, 11:09:26 PM »
Is Tuesday the one that incorporates a modified version The Course of the Years that was released on LP by DG in the early '80s? I haven't played that LP for years. I must dig it out.

Yes, this is correct. In Tuesday most of the male spoken parts are sung, and other sung passages are added as well as a final procession of the musicians. The main body of the music, however, is the same. This is also the only part of Licht that is not composed with the superformula (the Michael/Eve/Lucifer triple formula).

In Tuesday it is part of the first of two acts; Oktophonie is the layer of electronic music that forms the foundation of the second act.